Issue 186

TSVETELINA SPIRIDONOVA, MD, PHD: IN THE NAME OF THE PATIENT

When Tsvetelina Spiridonova, MD, PhD, took over Higia Hospital in early 2019, she had big shoes to fill. Established in 1991 by her father, Professor Stayko Spiridonov, as the first private hospital not only in post-Communist Bulgaria, but also Eastern Europe, Higia was widely respected for the quality of its treatment. Dr Spiridonova was more than prepared for the responsibility to continue pushing forward Higia's brand.

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WHAT BULGARIANS GET WRONG ABOUT WAR IN UKRAINE

Though it has been a member of NATO since 2004 and of the EU since 2007 present-day Bulgaria appears not to be very enthusiastic about any involvement in the war in Ukraine. Propaganda, disinformation and that sadly characteristic Balkan feature of obstinately trusting emotions and hearsay rather than common sense and hard facts partially explain this country's current attitude.

What are the prevalent misconceptions about Russia's "special operation" in Ukraine?

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MONUMENTAL WOES

One of the attractions of the Bulgarian capital, the 1950s monument to the Red Army, may fascinate visitors wanting to take in a remnant of the Cold War, but many locals consider it contentious. Recently Traycho Traykov, who was an economy minister for Boyko Borisov and is now mayor of the Sofia borough of Sredets, voiced his determination to have the monument "disassembled" and some of its many effigies of Russian soldiers and welcoming Bulgarians placed in a museum.

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WE CATCH THEM, THEY LET THEM GO FREE

As soon as the news of the Thursday evening arrests broke out a significant chunk of the Bulgarian population went into a frenzied jubilation comparable, according to one observer, to that goal at the 1994 World Championship Bulgaria scored against Germany. That goal. Folks started popping open new bottles of Rakiya and some of Borisov's neighbours in Bankya even organised a small fireworks display. Is the tyrant really going where he should have gone a long time ago?, Bulgarians were asking their Facebook friends.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

We have enough sunflower oil to drown the country.

Economy Minister Kornelia Ninova on rumours of sunflower oil shortages 

The ruling coalition is cracking along geopolitical lines.

Daniel Mitov, GERB

Borisov's claim that he would fix all current problems in a day is extremely brazen. Where was he in the past 10 years?

Prime Minister Kiril Petkov

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TOMBS, TREASURES AND ROSES

Everyone has heard about the Valley of the Egyptian Kings, but Bulgaria has its equivalent. The Valley of the Thracian Kings is a region where you can explore the tombs, mounds and treasures of what many historians consider to be the forefathers of modern Bulgarians.

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SHABLA: HIDDEN GEM TUCKED BETWEEN SEA AND LAND

Some cannot get enough of its beaches, beauty spots and tourist amenities, while others lament that much of its calm and pristine nature has been lost to overdevelopment. History lovers point out that the ancient Thracians, listed among the forefathers of modern Bulgarians, were masters of the choppy waters of the Black Sea long before the Greeks arrived and settled along its coastline, in the 7th-5th centuries BC. Foodies can talk at length about the superior taste of its bonito, turbot and sprat.

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EVERY PROJECT NEEDS A PROFESSIONAL ARCHITECT

One of the funny national psychological traits that Bulgarians often joke about among themselves is the unshakeable confidence that they know everything. Many people believe to be more informed than the experts and think they don’t even need advice. That is why they often treat themselves with homemade potions instead of prescribed medicines, repair their car engines themselves, and place bathroom tiles with the help of internet video tutorials.

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THE NOBLE MISSION OF GOOD EDUCATION

There is no doubt that the best investment is the one in education. And if it was once a privilege, available to few, now it is a fundamental right that everyone can and should take advantage of – for the sake of their development and of a better future.

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